If your cardiologist has recently told you that you may need heart surgery, he or she probably also said that you need to see your dentist before the procedure can be scheduled.
As it turns out, dental care and heart health are directly linked. Infections in the mouth, gums, or teeth can put your heart health at risk, especially if you are scheduled to undergo bypass, open heart, or even robotic heart surgery.
Heart Surgery Risks
The sac around the heart is especially susceptible to infection from bacteria found in the mouth. So if you have any sort of infection in your mouth, your heart surgeon probably won’t allow you to have the procedure you need until you see your dentist.
In many instances, even if there aren’t any obvious signs of infection in your mouth, teeth, or gums, your cardiologist will still require you to have a dentist examine your teeth prior to giving the go-ahead for heart surgery.
While it can sometimes take a few weeks to get an appointment to see your dentist if you are in dire need of heart surgery your pre-surgery appointment can often be expedited. This is especially true if your heart health is at immediate risk.
It’s also a reminder of why taking care of your teeth is so important. Even if your heart is perfectly healthy, infections and other medical issues that can result from poor dental hygiene can affect other aspects of your physical health.
Don’t take risks. Whether there is a history of heart issues in your family or if you are experiencing shortness of breath, palpitations, or other heart issues, you should schedule an appointment to see your dentist as well as your cardiologist.
Heart health and dental care are too important to leave to chance.